As you may know I am currently heading into my third year of university (eeeek!) studying biology and thought that I would write a little post about my lecture experiences, with some tips that I have picked up along the way.
When people ask me what lectures are like I say:
"It's like sitting in a cinema but instead of watching a film, the lights are dimmed and a lecturer stands at the front with a PowerPoint presentation and talks at you for about an hour whilst you frantically try to scribble down as much as they say without getting lost and then you have a five minute chat with your friends before they start again."
I usually have either two or four lectures a day and trying to keep up and focused, especially when dealing with difficult material, can be quite hard and this is where tip number one slots in:
Tip #1 - get a dictaphone
I got a dictaphone in second year and it has helped me no end and I would feel lost without it now. Keeping up in lectures can be difficult, especially when you have lecturers that forget to print half the handout or are adiment that they will do two lectures back to back with no break. Having a dictaphone isn't a replacement for taking notes, but when I feel lost by something that has been said, didn't get chance to write down what was said or even found my self drifting away and thinking about what I was having for dinner, I quickly note down the time displayed and then replay this bit when reviewing my lecture notes sometime that week. This is where the next tip comes in:
Tip #2 - keep up with lecture notes
This is a must, as leaving them will make revision stressful! This doesn't have to mean you spend hours memorising notes but just make sure you understand what was covered and you have filled in any gaps that you missed (e.g. with the dictaphone). When I have done this I put a big tick on the front sheet so you know where you are. It's important to keep lecture handouts organised, as I have learnt from experience, it saves a lot of time when it comes to revision.
Tip #3 - annotate handouts, but always have some paper or a notepad
When I started university, they told us not to annotate handouts but make notes - this is impossible and pointless as a lot of the information is already written down and therefore you may miss out something important they say as you rush to scribble down what you already have. Most people annotate their handouts but I always like to quickly add numbers to each slide on the handout and then if I run out of place or the lecturer goes off on a tandem, I write down the slide number on a separate sheet and the continue writing. When reviewing notes I like to staple this sheets together or file them individually with each lecture handout.
These are some of my tips for lecture that I think have helped me, so I hope that they will help you! Good luck to any of you new students and if you are already at university, what tips have you picked up along the way? I'd love to hear them.